2009 Volkswagen GLI Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Volkswagen GLI Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Volkswagen GLI Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automated Manual
  • Horse Power 200 hp @ 5100 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 22/29 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 Volkswagen GLI

  • Upholding the Germans' reputation for precise engineering and quality materials, the 2009 Volkswagen GLI deserves strong consideration from those looking for a sport sedan in the $25,000-$30,000 price range.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Powerful turbo engine, comfortable ride, tight handling, many standard safety features, quality interior materials, solid build quality.

  • Cons

    Somewhat bland exterior styling doesn't match the car's sporty drivetrain, options can quickly drive up the price.

  • What's New for 2009

    For 2009, the Volkswagen GLI gets a few more features but remains otherwise unchanged. All trim levels now come standard with cold-weather features such as heated seats and heated windshield-washer nozzles. Additionally, the GLI gets Volkswagen's new navigation system as an option.

Full 2009 Volkswagen GLI Review

What's New for 2009

For 2009, the Volkswagen GLI gets a few more features but remains otherwise unchanged. All trim levels now come standard with cold-weather features such as heated seats and heated windshield-washer nozzles. Additionally, the GLI gets Volkswagen's new navigation system as an option.


For many years, there existed a void in the market between "econosport" compact sedans (typically made by Japanese manufacturers) and pricier luxury sport sedans (normally produced by Germans). That void was filled a few years ago with the introduction of the Volkswagen GLI.

Bridging the gap between sporty compact sedans and luxury models, the GLI (it was called the Jetta GLI until last year) offers the taut, energetic feel of a German-engineered sedan, but at a more attainable price. The GLI's 200-horsepower turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine provides plenty of punch, while a firm suspension and communicative steering bring joy to those who appreciate a strong connection to the road. Also added to the mix is a nicely tailored cabin, VW's brilliant "DSG" automated manual transmission and an optional navigation system.

With pricing in the $25,000-$30K range, the 2009 Volkswagen GLI does exist in its own special niche of sorts. One could also consider the less expensive but equally impressive Honda Civic Si sedan, the all-wheel-drive Subaru WRX and Legacy GT models and the turbocharged Volvo S40 T5. There's also Acura's redesigned TSX to think about. Of this bunch, though, we think VW's GLI stands tall, and it's an excellent choice for a small, fun-to-drive sport sedan.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Volkswagen GLI compact sedan comes standard with bi-xenon headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, metallic interior trim, aggressively bolstered front seats, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, heated side mirrors, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat and a 10-speaker audio system with a CD changer, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack. New for 2009 are standard cold-weather features that were previously optional, including heated windshield-washer nozzles and heated front seats.

Ordering the optional Autobahn Package gets you a sunroof, leather upholstery and power lumbar support for the driver. There's also a Sport Styling kit that includes various exterior styling add-ons. Stand-alone options include 18-inch alloy wheels and Volkswagen's new voice-activated touchscreen navigation system with an integrated 30GB hard drive, SD memory card slot and USB port.

Powertrains and Performance

Only one engine is available on the 2009 Volkswagen GLI: a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 200 hp and 207 pound-feet of torque. It's available with a choice of either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed DSG transmission. The latter is an automated manual that allows either ultra-quick manual-style shifting via steering-wheel buttons or fully automatic operation. The GLI can sprint to 60 mph in about 8 seconds flat. EPA fuel economy estimates for a DSG-equipped GLI stand at 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined. Models sold in California and California-emissions states meet the strict PZEV (partial zero-emissions vehicle) emissions standard.


Antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags are all standard. Side airbags for rear passengers are optional.

In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests, the 2009 Volkswagen GLI received four out of five stars for protection of front-seat occupants in head-on collisions and five stars for front- and rear-occupant protection in side impacts. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the GLI earned the top rating of "Good" in both frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The cabin of the VW GLI exudes top-notch quality. Clean European design and an exacting fit and finish give it an upscale flair. Performance-oriented touches include a thick-rimmed, flat-bottomed steering wheel and metallic-trimmed pedals. Firm side bolsters on the front seats hold both driver and passenger snug around corners -- perhaps a bit too snug for those of wide frame. Otherwise, seating for four adults is comfortable all around, and the rear seat offers a folding armrest and a split-folding feature. This year's new and improved navigation system now features an intuitive touchscreen interface and a 30GB hard drive that not only decreases processing time (compared to last year's unit) but also devotes 20GB to digital music storage. Trunk capacity measures an impressive 16 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

The GLI's well-sorted suspension strikes a near-perfect balance between a comfortable ride and sporty handling. And the ride is surprisingly quiet. Between the precise handling, strong turbo engine and smooth-shifting DSG transmission, the 2009 Volkswagen GLI is a well-rounded choice for enthusiasts on a budget.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Amazing car!

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Volkswagen GLI 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

My original intent was to purchase an Acura TSX. However, after driving a friends VW Jetta, I reconsidered. After some research, I found the VW offered virtually the same features for almost the same price points. I picked up the VW GLI option (sports package) with the 6 speed manual and Bluetooth. This car is far more fun to drive than my Lexus ES300, in fact, it is the closest thing to my Honda VFR750 motorcycle for fun and performance!

Awesome car for the $

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Volkswagen GLI 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)

Bought my '09 GLI from a local dealer that specializes in off-lease VW & Audi cars. Car was actually a buy-back from VW for an engine problem. Car only had 2K miles, full warranty and a clear title. Roughly 35% off MSRP was too good to pass-up. I have read of reliability issues with VW but owned a late 90's Jetta that never had an issue so I'm not worried...many, many miles of warranty left. Car is a blast to drive and the highway acceleration is fantatstic for a 4 cyl car. DSG transmission is also a very nice piece of engineering. A little notchy on take- off but if you understand the engineering, it's really not an issue. Only had the car for 10 days but 0 regrets so far.

Beetle evolution

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Volkswagen GLI 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)

The Car is powerful, good handling for its class, spacious. Brazilian made brings solid engineering, mid-to-high quality materials and a lot of cost-cutting. on the long drive - cannot find a good sitting pose, despite 8 way seat moves. Justify the name JETTA CITY

Way better than my last

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Vehicle: 2009 Volkswagen GLI PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I had owned a 2003 GLI which hurt to trade in for a larger vehicle (family). I was in the market for a second vehicle and knew I had to check out the 09 GLI. I drove it once and that was it. Right away you feel the German engineering in the solid build it has. The acceleration of the 4 cylinder turbo is awesome. The gas mileage is great, got up to 33 mpg at one time! I have the autobahn package. The GLI stitching is cool and the leather bucket seats keep you in place. The 6 speed manual makes it that much more fun to drive. For the price you get a car comparable to a BMW 3 series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Worth all the research and

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Volkswagen GLI PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)

I devoted about 3 months of research and test driving before I purchased my 09 GLI and my new ride hasn't let me down. The steering is wonderful! It carves twists and turns and actually begs for more! The acceleration is awesome! When I shift gears with the paddles, I leave everyone behind. Overall, what a GREAT and REWARDING purchase. Other cars I test drove and compared the GLI to were the Acura TSX, Nissan Altima V6, and Honda Accord V6 Coupe.

Talk About The 2009 GLI

2009 Volkswagen GLI Discussions See all Started By

I also have been looking at the new Jettas, and recently test drove (while my 2007 was getting the oil changed at the VW dealer) a 2012 GLI 6 speed manual transmission. On the GLI, VW has used a bett...

Also, please, MF & residual for GLI DSG 36 mos 10K miles / year. Any difference between base and autobahn?...

My previous car was an 06 VW GLI, which has the 2.0T engine. I really liked that engine, it was fantastic in the GLI. I didn't even bother with test driving a CC with the 2.0T because I wanted the 1...

Gas Mileage


  • 22
  • cty
  • 29
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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